When a mother awakens her children, it’s usually to usher them to school, but for Omid in Children of Kabul, his mother’s voice awakens him to a harsh reality: “Omid, my dear. Get up. Go to work.” Over 1.5 million children in Afghanistan are forced to work for their families’ survival, according to UNICEF reports. [...]
Children of Kabul (www.childrenofkabul.com), a new film by Jawad Wahabzada and Jon Bougher, brings you to the war-torn streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, documenting the unfolding tragedy of child labor. Taking you into the lives of four young Afghan children – Omid, Sanabar, Yasamin and Fayaz – this short documentary provides first-hand accounts of a generation washing cars, picking garbage, selling food and hammering metal to earn money for their families. Devastated by war and economic difficulties, these children are the breadwinners of their families, creating an uncertain future for a country on the front lines of American foreign policy.
As I prepare to leave for a three week trip to Kenya a sense of unease, an unsettled feeling, has taken hold. Kenya is a country I love. A place where the smiles of the children leave an indelible mark on visitors, and the natural landscape rivals any in the world.
HIV & AIDS has not only turned children into orphans and laborers, but has also fanned the flames of trafficking in children.
Premiering at the United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford University on Saturday, October 30th at 8:30pm in the Annenberg Auditorium
Setting out to make a film about street children across the globe, the filmmakers are hijacked by a filthy 13-year-old boy on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya. Belligerently stoned on shoe glue, Emmanuel grabs us. “I want to go to school right now!”. He is hungry. He tells of the death of his mother, his horrific life in Kibera, Nairobi’s most notorious slum, his escape to the streets. Undocumented, a nobody, he stinks, eats garbage, is raped “by the big boys,” is “swept” off the streets by police and sent to adult jail cells. Who will notice if this kid’s life is snuffed out? And ironically, his name, Emmanuel, means “God among us.”
After going to film in the slums and countryside to find the roots of why kids are pouring into the streets to raise themselves, we are haunted by Emmanuel. We find a grown man, “Bravo,” who raised himself on the street and he tells us, “It is hunger!” We take hidden cameras into clubs where little girls are selling their bodies “for a piece of chicken.” We visit a remarkable home where Mama Zipporah and her husband Isaac have taken in 150 abandoned children as their own, living on faith to feed the kids. We search for solutions, but are still haunted by Emmanuel. And when we return to Nairobi, he is nowhere to be found. Street boys tell us “he stole a TV. He is on the run.”
A search, a rescue, a home, a school . . . all follow, with unexpected results. Emmanuel is taken to a hospital to “dry out” from the glue he sniffs to “keep away the hunger.” He is cleaned (no small task.) He is clothed. He is taken to school. He walks into his dream . . . and yet the dream takes a turn . . . heartbreaking and yet, somehow, hopeful.
Why are 100 million children living on the streets of the world? Emmanuel’s story can teach us all.
This week at Media Voices we’re going to do a bit of shameless self-promotion, with a twist. We have been focused these past nine months on running and building the web site but on August 3rd we presented our first live event, Islanders Giving Kids a Chance, a film and conversation.
Traveling with my two oldest daughters through Zambia on our way to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, we spent a few days in Livingstone, Zambia near Victoria Falls. I purchased a lovely wooden figure at the craft market from a young man named Foster Wachata. The year was 1999. Had someone told me that in ten [...]
49 year-old Joseph Onyango Siri is a widower raising seven children on less than a dollar a day. In this excerpt from the documentary film, The Same Heart, he describes his life to director Len Morris.
This is a summary report, prepared by the child labor specialist at The African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) about the children who have been and are currently being supported by the Kenyan Education Fund. Since 2002, 104 children have been removed from hard labor on the coffee and tea plantations and supported in school.
The orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) crisis in Africa is far bigger than the 15.7 million children projected to be orphaned by AIDS in 2010 and will have major implications for the long-term survival of the worst affected countries. UNICEF projects that a total of 53 million children in Africa will be orphaned from all causes in 2010. That equates to 1 out of every 8 children in Africa being an orphan! In 11 countries, more than 1 out of every 7 children will be an orphan. In 5 countries where the crisis will be the most acute, more than 1 out of 5 children will be orphaned. When the number of highly vulnerable children is added to
the orphans in the worst affected countries more than 30% – 40% of all children will be either orphaned or highly vulnerable. This report from WorldVision is an important warning of a real emergency for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
These are the testimonies of young women who took their chances in the city, rather than remain at home doing domestic labor. Many of these stories are typical of internal trafficking, where a young woman or man is promised a job or a chance to go to school, only to discover that they have to support themselves by selling their bodies in clubs or on the street.
This video describes how a grassroots community organization helps former child laborers in Kenya get an education and introduces a few of the children they support.
This video describes the work of AKIN, African Kids in Need, an organization dedicated to the education of poor, orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya.
UNDUGU is a short film about the rehabilitation programs of the Undugu Society of Kenya, one of the pioneer organizations dealing with street children and community empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Told from the vantage point of the children, the social workers who go to the streets daily and other front-line people who work to rescue this endangered population, this film outlines a step by step approach to reclaiming children from the streets, one life at a time.